Go stories?

Often experienced OTB players have a lot of interesting stories about peculiar events related to go. Sometimes they have morals, sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re just something to talk about. Does anyone have go stories worth sharing? Maybe trivia? Or club legend?


There is a 5 dan player who runs the official Go club in the city who I shall address as Mr. Li. Being someone who has played the game for 30 years, he has amassed a lot of fame in the amateur scene in China. Often he would tell us some of his stories, here’s one of them…

In some amateur tournaments in China, there are a lot players who play dirty. For Mr. Li’s game in the quarterfinals, he was scheduled to play an opponent who is “supposedly” absent. Those who were absent for longer than 15 minutes after the round begins lose automatically. Turns out his opponent had already arrived, but was hiding in an obscure place behind a few decorative pillars in the venue. It wasn’t until about 13 minutes into the round did he actually come out from hiding and greet Mr. Li. Some people do this to create a psychological effect in their opponent. It is trying to give false hope of an automatic win, before showing up and stage an upset. Apparently this technique can work really well on some people, throwing them off balance in their entire game. However, Mr. Li did something just as dirty.

Anyway, on with the story. It follows that during the mid game, Mr. Li had miscalculated his position, and two very critical cutting stones are caught in a ladder. The ladder is very complex, and there are many turning points in the ladder, thus requiring a lot of calculation. Mr. Li spotted this and realized there was no way to save those stones. So he waited, and pretended he was thinking very seriously. He waited about ten minutes acting this way, and played one move on the ladder (trying to run out the ladder that doesn’t work). The opponent, seeing this, immediately followed up with the ladder atari. Mr. Li paused again, waiting another 20 minutes, looking “as serious as if your life depended on it” as he puts it, before playing another ladder move. Now his opponent was doubting himself. He had heard of Mr. Li’s fame and achievement record, so naturally he thought maybe he had miscalculated, and that the ladder actually doesn’t work for him.

So yeah, Mr. Li’s opponent tenukied, and Mr. Li quickly saved those laddered stones. Mr. Li eventually won the game. After the game, Mr. Li told him those stones were actually dead, and that he had planned on resigning had he kept trying to capture them. His opponent was shocked but too embarrassed to mention the cheap trick he played for he knew he was no better :smiley:

The game of Go is a lot more than what you see on the board. 盘外招 is the Chinese phrase for “tricks outside the board” Of course, I don’t recommend trying any of it :wink:


thanks for sharing

An Embarrassing Position: From ‘The Game of Wei-Chi’ by D. Pecorini & Tong Shu

It is said that a first-rate player was summoned by the Emporer to play a game of Wei-Chi. He thought that if he were to win he might be considered lacking in respect for the Emperor, so he played some weak moves. The Emperor perceived this, and said: “How can a player of your class play so as to lose the game?”

The master of Wei-Chi feared then that he had compromised himself by not having played seriously and during the night studied the adjourned game so carefully that the next morning in a few moves he achieved a draw.


Turns out his opponent had already arrived, but was hiding in an obscure place behind a few decorative pillars in the venue. It wasn’t until about 13 minutes into the round did he actually come out from hiding

This is hilarious. More Go stories!


I wanted to open a new topic for my story, but I saw this old one, with surprisingly few stories, and it fit here.

Funny thing, the story takes place in a tournament started 2 years later by the same author of this thread :slight_smile:

To understand the story better, you need to know few details about me.
First of all, I am not smart, in childhood I even was considered retarded.
But somehow, without learning too much, I beat severely those who taught me go.
I was dubbed the savant idiot.
Our community is small, so I got bored of go, with no challenge.
I never understood my friends. Going to competitions.
So much travel, for few games, and mostly lose.
They convinced me to get online to see my rank.
So is close to one dan. Big deal.
I was already bored by go. did not played much.
My friends convinced me to get in this competition to see me lose more games.
Lost half of them, my friends are happy.

And now the story begins.
Finished 8 games.
But in the 9th the opponent acted childish. He always moved in the last day.
At first I was annoyed. To get online daily for nothing.
Next I got the hang, check weekly, no problem.
Then I saw the quarrel in the chat. I got annoyed again. Deliberate dragging is rude.
Did not thought at that before.
I get the idea of playing slow. Yes some people think slow, not instant like me.
Some people are busy, unlike me. They will find time to play now and then.
Sometime need a week, sometime more.
But to move in last day, is obviously deliberate.
A busy person will not have time to check daily, to be sure of not losing on time.
And moving in the last 24 hours is really stupid.
To drag the game is enough to move after a week, and keep some time for emergencies.
So I did not understood why he behaved like that, and I got annoyed.
I understand the romantic of a game played along a lifetime by two buddies visiting a cabin every year, but never meet.
But I did not understood that behavior. And I got upset.
Oh, I forgot to mention that something is wrong with my brain.
Some things are pushing me to anxiety. Sometimes quite bad.
I felt that this is going the wrong way so I changed the game.
I started a mental game of influencing his mind, to make him forget about the game and lose.
I know, is stupid. I do not believe in telepathy. Or any paranormal brain activities.
Even I have the proof for the opposite.
Once I heard about the brain being able to influence the dice.
And sure, too often it comes what we ask.
So I tested. Threw one hundreds of times. Wrote down the series to see the pattern.
Always one number was ahead with two or three, but not the same number.
Next I tested willing one certain number.
Surprisingly, always the one I willed was ahead a little.
But since the willed one was not at least double than the rest, the paranormal may be there, but with no force.
So, I hoped that I could channel my anxiety and influence his brain to forget about go in the day he needed to move in my game.
Now the stupid game became fun :slight_smile:
Obviously, I did not blocked his brain. He continued to move.
But I have done this for only ten maybe 15 moves. I was still confident:)
However, last month I was forced to move on a new computer.
I kind of hit a brick wall of bad luck. Nothing worked.
So weeks passed till I moved my ways in the new computer.
So with all that anxiety I totally forgot about that stupid game.
Now, when I remembered. I was sure that I lost on time.
It passed more than a month. so only maybe with the help of weekends I could still have time.
I log in, and surprise. Me, the moron, did not lost on time. It was the other idiot :))
I am not sure if any of you will find this being funny.
But for me is sure funny as hell :slight_smile: it really made my day.

Now I am scaring myself. What if my telepathy sessions worked with a delay?

:slight_smile: I will never know :slight_smile:


I used to take my son to the Kids and Teens Go Club in Boulder, Colorado (USA). It was in the kids section in the Boulder public library. There were several regular adult players who taught new kids the rules (including myself), and played teaching games (and regular games) with the kids. My son, a then 9 year old 28kyu developed an interesting strategy for playing high handicap games against much stronger opponents (low kyu level). He would play on the 3-3 points securing the corners, then defensively build or tenuki for the next 40 moves (approximately). He managed to beat most of the adult players at-least a few times in 9-stone handicap games using this strategy. I think it worked because it caught his opponents by surprise. By the time they got around to counting, they realized they were behind and couldn’t capture anything or form any living group behind the dense frameworks my son had made. This earned him the nickname of Mr Tenuki.


On the SL page Fish Tesuji I found this story from John Trotter:

This is a story of something that happened to me in a small tournament in San Diego, back in the 80’s. I think it was a Mcmahon tournament and I had been doing pretty well in the lower bracket. I went to my next match and found my opponent sitting at the table with a fish-bowl - containing a live fish. I introduced myself and asked about the fish. He told me that the fish was the one playing, and that he was only there to put the stones on the board.

I thought he was joking, but as the round started, he spent most of his time staring at the fish before making his moves. Sometimes he would ask questions - “The top one?” “Are you sure?” “Which side?”. I was a little annoyed, but I decided to just concentrate on the game. We both played a fairly calm game, until he made a deep invasion that I was sure was an overplay. I attacked him, and it turned into a huge fight. I wound up with more liberties, though, and was able to start chasing his group around. As this went on, he started questioning the fish more and more, sounding exasperated. He even started shouting at it, and at one point walked away for several minutes before coming back and apologizing. To the fish.

I was sure at this point that I would win, but I was getting more and more distracted by his antics, and I eventually missed a shortage of liberties and lost a huge group. I resigned shortly afterwards. I won the rest of my games, and if it weren’t for the fish, I would have won the tourney in my bracket.


A friend from my Go club started playing Go in his teens more than 50 years ago. By the time he went to university, he was already pretty good (borderline Dan level probably). A few days in, there was a knock at his door. He answered and there was a guy stood there who said, “I hear you’re a Go player. Shall we have a game?” My friend replied, “Of course!”.

My friend knew he was pretty good so he expected an easy win or at least an even game…

But ancient Go proverb say: “Never underestimate your opponent!”… :wink:

My friend’s new acquaintance went on to give him a thorough beating. This other guy was running rings around my friend! Whether it ended in resignation or a huge margin I can’t remember but my friend was well and truly dominated. After the surprise thrashing my friend asked, “How did you…? What… What happened?” The other guy replied, “Oh! Did I forget to mention…? I’m the current British champion Go player!” :rofl:


I have kind of an unusual story that I highly doubt anyone can relate to:

Early on when I was first starting to figure the game out and was maybe about a 10 kyu, I played a game with someone on OGS. Just a random person who I had never played with before from the luck of chance by offering a live challenge on the main OGS page. Some time into the game this person said “brb”, and proceeded to pause the game momentarily. I being so drawn away from texting abbreviations like that in my earlier years, had no idea what this meant and did not think to Google it. However, I thought he might soon come back to game and so I charitably decided to wait for a moment. I did not have terrific patience back in those days and so after only two minutes, I resumed the game to try and time him out. This wasn’t nice, but I could be a little overly competitive with my opponents back then and nothing seemed better than getting a little boost to my prized rank at that particular moment.

My opponent came back a couple of minutes later, and I quickly stated that I resumed the game because I thought he would not come back, though I was greatly embarrassed because I realized I had been too impatient. The game ended and I don’t remember the outcome, but here comes the funny part: I decided to dwell on what “brb” could possibly mean for a couple of minutes. Then I got super hot with a new shame and embarrassment all of a sudden. I thought I came to correctly realize that “brb” was short for “bathroom break.” Thus I thought that my opponent had paused the game because he needed to use the restroom, and even worse was that I had said “I didn’t think you would come back.” The worst of it was that he didn’t respond when I tried to explain myself, so the evidence lined up perfectly. I thought that I had embarrassed him and that he believed I was deliberately being inappropriate in a nasty way. I did not mean any of this, but I was worried for days that I would get banned by a moderator, and nothing brought greater fear to me than loosing the ability to play my beloved game. Nothing happened, and I eventually forgot about the whole thing for awhile.

It wasn’t until over a year later that I learned “brb” was really simply an abbreviation for “be right back,” and thus that I was incorrect. I laughed myself silly as this event was the first thing that popped back into my head when I learned this.


Fishy!!! :rofl: